Tim Halperin appeared on this past season’s ‘American Idol’ and beat out over 125,000 contestants and entered the Top 24 of Season 10. This made him the first in that bracket to perform an original piece, “The Last Song”, which appears on his debut album ‘Rise and Fall’.

I recently had the chance to ask Tim some questions about his debut album and his journey from reality TV hopeful to singing superstar. What was going through your mind during your initial ‘American Idol’ audition? Did you anticipate releasing your own album someday? When I auditioned for American Idol, I was already 3 months into the recording process for my full-length CD ‘Rise and Fall’, so I knew I would eventually release my own album. When I auditioned, I was a bit nervous because I knew millions would watch me on TV, and the weight of that initial audition is pretty heavy. I had watched the birth of so many stars in that setting. But ultimately I was thinking about how much work I had put into my career as a singer/songwriter. I thought about the thousands of miles I had driven to play concerts and give away free CDs, in hopes of getting my music heard. At my audition, I knew I had the opportunity to have my music heard on a much larger scale. More…

You were the first ‘American Idol contestant to perform an original song and qualify as one of the top 24 contestants. Why do you think “The Last Song” struck a chord with so many people?

‘The Last Song’ is a song that is deeply personal to me, which makes the emotion rich. People connect with songs when the emotion is real…nearly tangible. I knew right away that I was going to play that song when given the opportunity to play anything during the top 40 round.

After you had been voted off the competition, countless media outlets labeled your exit a mistake. Did this inspire you to keep pursuing music and anticipate future success in the music industry?

I wish those media outlets would have voted! You know, I actually stopped reading media about me during American Idol. Many comments and articles hurt me when I read them during the early phases of American Idol. A TV show that is built upon judging inspires all kinds of critiques from its audience, and that was a hard reality to live with for a while. I knew that no matter what happened during my run on American Idol, I was going to finish my album and work as hard as I possibly could to get my music out. It is still a daily battle to chase this music dream, but as long as I have support and feel like I am impacting lives with music, I will keep pushing.

It seems that performers who lose out on the ‘Idol’ crown tend to be more popular with audiences in post competition realm. A major example of this is Jennifer Hudson who won an Academy Award for her role in ‘Dreamgirls’. Would you agree?

Oh for sure…well hopefully for my sake! American Idol is such a powerful force, and the momentum from that show can change lives. I don’t think you need to win American Idol to create a career from the exposure that the show brings.

Describe the creative journey that led to your debut album ‘Rise and Fall’.

‘Rise and Fall’ reflects the last three years of my life. When I write music, my goal is to capture the raw emotion that I feel. Once I had written about 15 songs that I considered to be worthy of recording, I approached a producer that I highly respect, Jordan Critz, and asked him to consider working with me on the full-length CD. Jordan listened to me play these songs at the piano and he jumped on-board to produce the album. We started recording ‘Rise and Fall’ over a year ago, in August of 2010. After I left the American Idol stage, I had another 6 months on my hands to refine all of the songs, and record some more to choose from for the album, since I did a lot of writing while on American Idol. Now, after over a year of work and a 6 month waiting period, ‘Rise and Fall’ is being heard.

What led to your involvement with Komen for the Cure?

I received a phone call in July of 2010 from Ann Louden, who chairs Frogs For the Cure, Texas Christian University’s effort to support Komen for the Cure. Ann asked if I had a song they could use for a half-time video at a TCU football game. I talked with producer Brian Kieta, and we decided to write and record a song for Komen. Lyrics were inspired by breast cancer survivors’ thoughts on their battle with breast cancer, and the song was called ‘We Fight Back’. When people at Komen for the Cure Headquarters heard the song, they adopted it as a theme song and made me a Komen Partner. Since releasing the song, I’ve had the opportunity to perform at the Komen Global Race in Washington D.C., the St. Louis Race that drew 67,000 participants, the Dallas Race, as well as many other races and Komen events. The cause of finding a cure for breast cancer becomes a greater passion of mine with each passing day. Komen is a community of amazing people who inspire hope to everyone they meet.

You can purchase ‘Rise and Fall’ on I-Tunes.